Art from Friends Episode 1 "The Pilot"

The Pilot“, also known as “The One Where Monica Gets a Roommate“, “The First One” and “The One Where It All Began“, is the pilot episode and series premiere of the American television sitcom Friends. The episode premiered on NBC on September 22, 1994 with an estimated 21.5 million US viewers. It was written by the show’s creators, David Crane and Marta Kauffman, and directed by James Burrows. The pilot introduces six twenty year old friends who live and work in New York City: Monica Geller, a single sous chef in her mid 20s who is illegally subletting her grandmother’s apartment; Ross Geller, Monica’s older brother, a paleontologist whose marriage recently ended because his wife, Carol, is a lesbian; Rachel Green, Monica’s spoiled, self-centered, high-school best friend who has just left her fiancé at the altar and is financially cut off by her father; Chandler Bing, Ross’ college roommate and best friend who lives across the hall from Monica; Joey Tribbiani, a struggling Italian-American actor and Chandler’s roommate; and Phoebe Buffay, a laid-back, hippie-ish masseuse, singer and guitar player. Click Here to view the full cast and crew for the episode. 

Crane and Kauffman pitched their original idea to network NBC in 1993. NBC liked it and commissioned a complete script, which was submitted in 1994. Before the script was finished, casting for the six main roles began; 75 actors were seen for each part. The Friends pilot episode was taped on May 4, at Warner Bros.’ studios in Burbank, California. After making final edits to the episode, executive producer Kevin Bright submitted it on May 11, two days before NBC was due to announce the schedule. Satisfied with the completed pilot, NBC ordered 12 more episodes for the first season. The episode was watched by approximately 21.5 million viewers, making it the fifteenth-most-watched television show of the week. Critics compared the show unfavorably to Seinfeld and Ellen, noting the similarities all three series had in depicting friends conversing about their lives. The cast, particularly Schwimmer, were complimented, though there was some concern that the character roles were undeveloped and that the plot for the pilot would not go over well with audiences.

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Art from Central Perk

In the opening scene of “The Pilot” at the Central Perk coffee shop, Monica is teased by her friends, PhoebeChandler and Joey, about going out with someone and claiming it is not a date. Joey, Chandler and Pheobe let you know from the beginning that they are jokesters by asking Monica what is wrong with her date and if he has a hump and a hairpiece or if he eats chalk. This begins our obsession with the set artwork for the show. Central Perk displays some of the most attention grabbing and desirable artworks from the show. 

The majority of the pieces from the coffee shop are done by renown pop artist Burton Morris, CLICK HERE for the 25th anniversary article.  Ross, Monica’s older brother, arrives at the coffee shop, upset that his lesbian ex-wife has moved out of their apartment to begin a new relationship with her partner. Joey suggest to Ross that the answer to feeling lonely is strip clubs, Ross says he doesn’t want to go to a strip club he just wants to be married. A young woman suddenly arrives wearing a wet wedding dress, whom Monica recognizes as her high-school best friend, Rachel. Monica introduces her to the others as Rachel reveals she left her fiancé at the altar, realizing that she does not love him. 

Friends Trivia

INTERESTING OBSERVATION: Lacy and I noticed that in this episode there is a huge rip in the couch from Central Perk that can be seen in several scenes. We kept an eye out on all other episodes and the couch is perfect for the rest of the series. Episode 1 of FRIENDS “The Pilot” is the only episode that it is ripped. 

Central Perk Coffee Friends Couch Ripped
source: Warner Bros. Television

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FRIENDS super nerds

Christopher & Lacy have been together for over 12 years and got married in LAS VEGAS in 2016.

When Lacy is not watching FRIENDS you can find her dedicating time to The Aneurysm and AVM Foundation or playing with their two rescue Pit Bulls, Roxy Girl and Crouton. Lacy has been a FRIENDS super nerd since day one and has won every FRIENDS TRIVIA contest entered. 

Christopher was introduced to the greatest TV show of all time by his beautiful wife Lacy and enjoys quoting lines from the show, collecting FRIENDS Funko Pops and FRIENDS LEGO sets. When he is not watching friends you can find him either working on his websites or helping auto dealerships set up innovative tech platforms.

Christopher & Lacy Stearns

Lacy's Favorite Episodes
Christopher's Favorite Episodes

Art fromMonica's Apartment

In the next scene Rachel is back at Monica’s apartment speaking with her dad on the phone on why she ran out of the wedding. The pieces in her apartment do not change throughout the series and are some of the easier to find works. “Aux Buttes Chaumont” Originally an 1896 Parisian advertisement for a department store selling children’s toys and clothes, this poster was prominently featured hanging above the tv in Monica’s apartment. The Yellow Picture Frame that can be seen surrounding the peephole throughout the series was a mirror that one of the crew broke and they thought it would look great on the door. It is in almost every episode. Another interesting vintage poster next to the door is “Maina La Voyante”(translation Maina the Seer) which is a french magic show advertisement from 1930 by artist Louis Galice.

Art from Monica's Apartment

In this scene you will notice two pieces that are much harder to find. The wooden picture next to the kitchen is a carving by Gil Elvgren titled “A Perfect Pair”. Gil Elvgren (1914-1980) was one of americas most famous Pin-Up artist. Click here to find original prints of “A Perfect Pair” on eBay.

The poster above the sewing machine is an enlarged playbill from the 1927 play “A Very Wise Virgin” at the historic Bijou Theatre. We haven’t ever been able to find a playbill or reproduction poster but it is such a cool piece we wanted it to be known.

Gil Elvgren "A Perfect Pair" source: Warner Bros. Television
"A Very Wise Virgin" Bijou Theatre 1927

Art from Ross's Apartment

Meanwhile, Joey and Chandler console Ross while helping him assemble new furniture. Ross begins to wonder if any woman would be “the right one” for him. Ross gets all down when he grabs a beer from the fridge and states that it was Carol’s favorite beer. “this was Carol’s favorite beer, she always drank it out of the can. I should have known”. Ross didn’t have much in his first apartment. Most noticeable is “The Speed Racer Show” poster. 

Friends Trivia

For the first 13 episodes of Season 1 the apartment numbers are Chandler/Joey (4) and Monica/Rachel (5). In Season 1 Episode 14, “The One with the Candy Hearts”, aired February 9th 1995, they changed the apartment numbers to Chandler/Joey (19) and Monica/Rachel (20) to show that the apartments are on a higher floor. 

Monica wrong apartment number
source: Warner Bros. Television

Society6 has some of the coolest fan created artwork. You will be the envy of every die hard fan that visits your home with this unique shower curtain featuring the infamous couch in front of the fountain from the opening credits.

Our shower curtains are the perfect focal point for any bathroom with our artists’ array of eye-catching designs. Hookless and extra long, these curtains will surely fit in any bathroom setup. Plus, they’re machine washable to avoid any soap scum or buildup. Click Here to view this and many other custom FRIENDS inspired works. 

Monica goes on her first date with Paul the “wine guy”, played by John Allen Nelson, who confides in her that he has not been able to perform sexually since his wife left him. Monica is touched by his admission, and they sleep together. The next day, however, she learns from a coworker that Paul’s story about his ex-wife is just a ruse to pick up women. 

Art from Central Perk

Rachel comes into Central Perk after she gets laughed at from 12 job interviews. After her attempts to get a job are unsuccessful, Rachel ends up buying a new pair of boots with one of her credit cards, which she admits her father pays for. Egged on by the group, Rachel reluctantly cuts up her credit cards to announce her independence.

Behind Chandler is an ANTIQUE ORANGE JULEP SYRUP DISPENSER. We have always wanted one of these to display but have not been able to find one for sale locally. They are VERY EXPENSIVE AND HEAVY. Click Here to view the current eBay auctions. 

In the final scene of “The Pilot” Ross and Rachel talk and he confesses that he once had a crush on her during high school; she admits that she knew. He asks if he can ask her out sometime, and she says yes. Ross leaves the apartment feeling newfound hope. 

Central Perk Coffee Friends Orange Julep
source: Warner Bros. Television. Antique Orange Julep Syrup Dispenser

Friends Trivia

INTERESTING OBSERVATION: The lamp in Monica’s apartment is different in Episode 1 “The Pilot”. It changes in Episode 2 “The One with the Sonogram at the End”

Episode 1 Lamp. source: Warner Bros. Television
Episode 2 Lamp Changes. source: Warner Bros. Television.

Homemade 1c Pickles

One of our favorite set pieces can be seen in Monica’s apartment throughout the entire series. The “Homemade 1c Pickles” crockery jar was made by Corona Stoneware. Vintage original jars can be found on eBay. CLICK HERE to view originals on eBay.

Click Here for amazing quality handmade reproductions on Amazon. 

Lacy's Homemade 1c Pickles jar